Bereishit

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“Chanoch walked with God; then he was no more for God had taken him.”
~ Breishis 5:24

The Torah lists mankind’s genealogy from Adam to Noach. For almost everyone, it writes literally that each person died. Only Chanoch’s demise is written figuratively.

Why?

Because he was taken before his time. Although Chanoch righteously “walked with God”  his resolve was lacking. Due to the weakness of his convictions he would undoubtedly go astray, so God kindly “took him”  before he messed up.

We don’t have such luxuries. We have to courageously live by the strength of our convictions.

Ha’azinu

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“May my teachings be…like storm winds upon vegetation.”
~ Deuteronomy 32:2

Moses charged the people to continue following his teachings after his death.

Why compare them to something negative?

Although hurricanes are destructive, your average storm wind doesn’t damage plants – quite the opposite – by pushing the stems and stretching them to their limit, the wind actually strengthens them and makes them grow better.

So too Torah wisdom; although it pushes our boundaries and stretches our minds, it strengthens us and makes us grow.

The things you find difficult usually benefit you.

Vayelech

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“Moses summoned Joshua, saying to him before the eyes of all Israel: ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall come with this people to the land.”
~ Deuteronomy 31:7

Moses instructed his successor to “come with”  the people and lead in accordance with the elder’s advice.

However God commanded Joshua to “bring”  the people.

Why change the verb?

To impress upon the fledgling leader the most essential leadership lesson of all: there can only be one boss. Taking advice is often helpful, but only after you’ve accepted full responsibility for the task at hand.

So too in life, friendly advice is only beneficial if you’re prepared to ignore it.